The UK's Winchester Entertainment will be handling sales at Mifed on Aisling Walsh's Irish-set period drama, Song For A Raggy Boy, having taken over the sales mandate from Spain's Lolafilms.
At press time, Winchester was poised to sign the deal that sees it take over the sales role from Lolafilms, which was one of the film's co-producers alongside Ireland's Subotica Entertainment, Denmark's Moviefan and the UK's Zoma Films.
The film, which stars Aidan Quinn and Iain Glen, is the true story of a man's struggle against the violent regime of a boys' Irish reformatory school in 1939. It premiered in the World Cinema section at Sundance and has since travelled the festival circuit picking up the Golden Swan award in Copenhagen and the Haskell Wexler award for cinematographer Peter Robertson at the Woodstock festival.
It is understood that the sales house switch came about after some of the film's backers expressed concern earlier this summer about Lolafilms' ability to service the film. Lolafilms, which previously cut back its UK sales and production offshoot, lost its international sales team when Marina Fuentes and Will Machin left to head sales at start-up Buena Onda.
Lolafilms this week announced that it had hired Tania Pinto Da Cunha from HanWay and promoted in house press attache Eva Sklar to be its new co-directors of international sales.
Winchester is itself going through a period of expansionary turmoil. In June Winchester announced that it was buying UK sales and production outfit Cobalt Pictures from owners John Muse and Alton Irby. Cobalt brought with it projects including Open Range, a $42m western adventure starring Kevin Costner, Robert Duvall and Annette Bening, and House Of Sand & Fog, a $25m drama starring Ben Kingsley and Jennifer Connelly.
Winchester chief executive and major shareholder, Gary Smith unexpectedly announced his departure last month. His exit was followed by that of sales executive Andrew Brown who joined the company when it was founded in 1996, and preceded by the resignation in July of US production chief Hadeel Reda from Winchester's board.
Sales at Mifed will be handled by Billy Hurman, senior vice president of sales and marketing, Cosmo Spens, vice president of sales and marketing, and director of film finance Rodney Payne formerly Cobalt's managing director.
Lolafilms had achieved sales on Raggy Boy to distributors including Mexico (Quality Films); Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay and Chile (Cine 3); Venezuela (Blanco y Travieso); and Colombia (Centauro), CNC for Benelux, PCV for Greece, MPA for Portugal and Intercontinental for Hong Kong.